September 2013 | Click links (>>) below to read articles
  • 4-Step Follow-Ups by Jim Domanski >>
  • Mistakes, Tips on Using Names in Sales by Art Sobczak >>
  • Why Buyers Love to Delay Buying By Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” >>
  • Seven Steps To Reaching Your Goals In Sales by Roy Chitwood, CSP >>
  • Getting Your Prospect Ready for a Sales Call by Michael Nick >>
  • Phone Sales Tips: The Best Way to Use the Phone When Contacting Customers by Mark Hunter, 'The Sales Hunter ' >>
  • Seven Insights To Use For Getting Your Next Job by Roy Chitwood, CSP >>
  • Why Do Your Customers Do Business with You?By Bill Lee >>


4-Step Follow-Ups
by Jim Domanski

Your abilities count. Your visibility probably counts even more.

Do you have a system established for following up all first visits with sales prospects and customers? If you don't - you should.

Whether your first sales call with a new sales prospect was great or good, you can make it even better with a series of follow-ups. You see, most salespeople never think to do this.

Step one. For example make it a point to send an e-mail within 24 hours of your first visit. This should be a simple "Thank you e-mail." You can thank your sales prospect for anything except his time. You want to avoid thanking people for their time because that's what everybody else does.

You can say thank you for showing me your facilities. Thank you for introducing me to your boss. Thank you for showing me the plans for the new project. You get the picture!

Step two. Three days later send a personal handwritten note. What you say of course depends on your particular situation. If your sales prospect agreed to a second meeting, your hand written note could simply confirm the meeting date and time.

Don't dismiss the power behind hand written notes. Especially today when more people are opting to communicate via e-mail. You can even add a touch of class to your handwritten note by using a fountain pen with blue ink. A well-written handwritten note has staying power.

Include your business card with your handwritten note.

Step three. 10 days after the first meeting send another handwritten note attached to a relevant article. All your note needs to say is something simple like “F.Y.I. - thought you might like to see this."

Be sure to include the date, your signature, and another business card. Don’t be stingy with your business cards.

Step four. 30 days after your first visit send another handwritten and a good book like Light from Many Lamps: A Treasury of Inspiration by Lillian Eichler Watson. The book is loaded with inspirational stories and quotes.
See book details here:

It’s the perfect way to improve your relationship with your sales prospect.

This little follow-up system says a lot about you. It says you care. It says you're professional. It says you're attentive to detail.

It also says you’re different in a very special way.

About The Author:

Check out Jim's 4th Kindle eBook which is on a FREE promotion Sept 5-9!

Selling Made Simple - How to Avoid Sounding Pathetic During a Sales Call

Jim is a Sales Strategist and is the creator of No-Brainer Selling Skills. He shows salespeople and entrepreneurs how to increase sales, earn more money, have more fun, and how to do it all in less time. His focus is on practical ideas that get immediate results. He offers Advanced Sales Management Workshops, Sales Coaching, Consulting, In-house Sales Training Programs, and a wide variety of Learning Tools i.e. books, special reports, sales manuals, and CDs.Jim Meisenheimer is a member of The National Speakers Association, where he earned the C.S.P. designation, Certified Speaking Professional. He has authored five books including, "The 12 Best Questions To Ask Customers," and the recently published “57 Ways To Take Control Of Your Time And Your Life”.



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Mistakes, Tips on Using Names in Sales
by Art Sobczak


At the Safeway grocery store I frequent, the check-out personnel are instructed to call customers by name when they hand them their credit or debit card receipts.
Nice intention, bad execution.
Maybe once out of 100 trips the person has gotten close to saying mine correctly.
It's actually quite comical how they struggle, then butcher it. I'm always polite and empathetic when I correct them and pronounce it correctly.
Naturally they feel embarrassed. (I've finally resorted to beating them to the punch and pronouncing it before they have a chance to mangle it.)
I've touched on this topic many many times and it bears repeating because I see mistakes being made so often.
Mistakes that can hinder your chance at a sale.
Dale Carnegie said that the sweetest sound a person can hear is his own name.
True, when used appropriately by the right person at the right time.
Conversely, in some cases, a person's name can be a turn off.
And it still floors me, the ignorance of many people when hearing a difficult or unusual name on phone calls. In talking to sales or service people on calls where I was the customer, after spelling my name, I've heard such idiotic comments as,
"Oh, that's a weird one."
"That's a strange name."
And some people just burst out laughing.
What do these dolts think? That I'm going to say,
"Yeah, I know. You're right. It's a curse."
I personally don't stay up nights fretting over this. Mine IS an unusual name. (It's pronounced Sob'-check.) I'm used to it.
Hey, to top it off, my first name is Art. Think of how many times I heard "Art Fart" while growing up, or, “I bet Art is your favorite Sub-JECT (yuck yuck).”
People can be such morons. Sometimes I stoop to their level of boorishness and congratulate them on how original and creative their attempt at humor is.
But the name issue is a very tender area for some.
And it says a lot about the person making the comment.
I don't mind if, after saying or spelling my name, someone makes a commiserating comment like,
"I've got you beat. My name is Wojtkewkowski."
Otherwise, it's really out of place to make inappropriate comments.
If someone with an unusual name takes the lead, and pokes fun at it himself after spelling it, it's certainly OK to react in some way.
I make a point to spell my name, SO--BC-ZAK. Then I say, "I used to start out with 'SOB--' but too many people commented on how descriptive that was."
That breaks the ice and elicits some laughter and small talk.
The safe rule: absent of their self-deprecating comment, say...nothing.
I took a call from a guy, and he very slowly recited his name: "Buddy Bunne." And he pronounced it BUN-EE. Like a little rabbit (but he didn't say that). I admit, I bit my lip and paused--you could almost feel him bracing for the anticipated wiseguy response. "And your address, Buddy?", I continued, not commenting on the name.
Pssst, here's a secret. Those of us with unusual names already KNOW our name is different.
Some of us good-natured folks just blow off comments with humor.
But others view their name as sensitively as they would if they had a third ear protruding from their head. You wouldn't comment on that, so why take a chance of offending someone?
Here are a few tips for you:
1. Here’s a website where you can enter names and hear an audio with the pronunciation: You can also add pronunciations that you know to be correct, and perhaps variations of others.
2. Best yet, before reaching the prospect, ask someone at the prospect’s company how to pronounce the name. (And please, do NOT say, “What is the correct pronunciation of Bill’s name?”
Like you are looking for the incorrect way to say it?). And then put it phonetically in your notes.
3. Also ask the Executive Assistant, or others in the department how the prospect prefers to be addressed. Robert, Bob, Mr. Smith, etc.
4. Do not rename them. Use their name the way it is written, and the way they say it when they greet you. For example, one of my customers, David, said that people will often call him Dave even after he answers the phone with “This is David.”
Why should we obsess over this?
Not getting someone's name correct, and worse, making fun of it, is a personal sign of disrespect and laziness.
It screams out "I am a salesperson who didn't care enough." Don't be that person.
Do you have any of your own experiences, stories, or tips regarding names? Please do share them at my Smart Calling Blog.
Make it your best week ever!

About the Author:
Art Sobczak, President of Business By Phone Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople--both inside and outside--designing and delivering content-rich programs that participants begin showing results from the very next time they get on the phone. Audiences love his "down-to-earth,"entertaining style, and low-pressure, easy-to-use, customer oriented ideas and techniques. He works with thousands of sales reps each year helping them get more businesses by phone. Art provides real world, how-to ideas and techniques that help salespeople use the phone more effectively to prospect, sell, and service, without morale-killing "rejection." Using the phone in sales is only difficult for people who use outdated, salesy, manipulative tactics, or for those who aren't quite sure what to do, or aren't confident in their abilities. Art's audiences always comment how he simplifies the telesales process, making it easily adaptable for anyone with the right attitude.


Contact Info
Art Sobczak
Business By Phone Inc.
13254 Stevens St.
Omaha, NE, 68137

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Why Buyers Love to Delay Buying
By Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter”

Salespeople love to complain about buyers. One of the complaints salespeople share the most is that buyers never seem to make up their mind. Just about the time it looks like they’re going to make a buying decision, they suddenly hold off.

Yes, there are times when a buyer legitimately can’t make a decision.

Many times, though, the delay is nothing more than a tactic on the part of the buyer to get a better deal. This is especially true of professional buyers, who see numerous salespeople on a regular basis. Why should anyone make a decision quickly if they don’t have to? More often than not, the buyers believe that by waiting, they will get a better deal. The salesperson will get scared and will think the only way to secure the sale is to offer a discount. Buyers believe this because experience has shown them that it works!

Salespeople by nature are scared. Don’t take offense to my observation, because I include myself in this profession as well. We, unfortunately, can view things too quickly in a negative manner. For most salespeople, the way out of a situation like this is to immediately offer the buyer a price reduction. This is exactly what the buyer wants! They are looking for the salesperson to show some fear and some sense that the sale may not happen at all. Once the buyer smells fear, they know a better deal is about to appear.

This is also a key reason why many professional buyers love to ignore phone calls, emails and all other forms of communication from salespeople. Nothing can make a salesperson more scared than a buyer who doesn’t communicate with them. If you’re a buyer, it’s hard to find any activities that can result in a higher return on investment than ignoring a salesperson or holding off on making a decision. These tactics usually result in saving money.

Now let’s look at this challenge from a salesperson’s perspective. Salespeople love to close sales and they also love to close sales quickly, preferably with as little effort as possible. But effort – particularly mental effort – can make the difference. This is the ability to understand and rationalize objectively what is happening and what is not happening. This means understanding why the buyer does need to buy from you and how what you’re selling will allow them to achieve their needs and objectives. The more you can build this kind of objective thinking into your attitude, the better equipped you are to keep negativity at bay. Negative thinking is the culprit that takes the biggest toll on a salesperson’s level of success.

As soon as the salesperson begins viewing the situation negatively and how the sale may not occur, it’s only natural for them to think the solution is to lower the price or offer something extra in the form of service. When the salesperson does this, two things happen. First, it confirms in the buyer’s mind why the smart thing to do is to slow down the decision-making process. Second, it destroys profit margin for the salesperson.

While there are several techniques to counter these outcomes, there really is only one that is foundationally most important – the confidence of the salesperson. If the salesperson is not confident, then every other tactic or strategy is useless and will have little effect. Everything starts with the salesperson.

Confidence begins with the total belief in your own skill set as a salesperson and total belief in your ability to help the buyer fill the needs they have. If you don’t believe in both of these, then there is nothing else you can do to prevent the buyer from taking advantage of you by delaying their decision. Buyers, especially professional buyers, can discern very quickly how confident a salesperson is. If they sense the salesperson is not confident, then they’ll delay their decision. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.

On the other hand, if you as the salesperson are determined to regularly and intentionally strengthen your own resolve and your own confidence, your natural reaction to stalling buyers will not be to cave under the pressure. Your reflex will be to wholeheartedly believe in your product, your price and your potential to help the customer achieve their goals.

Are you going to let fear or confidence determine your future? The choice is yours, so choose wisely. And profitably.

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. To find out more, visit

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Seven Steps To Reaching Your Goals In Sales
by Roy Chitwood, CSP

Business people are better educated and informed today than ever in history.

They are drivers of our ever-changing economy with their innovative ideas, creative solutions and high expectations.

They're thinkers, they're doers and they want results.

To arrive at those results, however, they need a road map. Innovation and creativity mean little if you lack a solid plan for success.

It's my belief that anyone looking to achieve success in any aspect of his or her life must utilize a proven sales method that removes all the guesswork and leaves nothing to chance.

Everyone is selling, all the time - whether they realize it or not.

Selling is the backbone of our economy; it's what drives business. It's also an effective form of communication and a key component in community building. As such, it's through selling that we help each other reach our goals.

That's because, regardless of what you're looking to achieve, you're going to have to sell someone on at least some portion of it at some point. You might as well learn how to do it effectively.

For almost 40 years, I've been teaching a field-tested selling method called the Track Selling SystemTM.

Track Selling uses seven steps that lead you through the selling process easily and logically. It involves agreement throughout the process so both the seller and the buyer are comfortable and always have their needs met.

At its core, Track Selling is a system of respectful, effective communication.

Once you learn the steps, you'll know exactly what to do in any situation whether you're selling yourself, a product, a service or an idea. And you'll be able to do so without doubt or hesitation. Best of all, this system produces results quickly and efficiently.

It wastes neither time nor energy; it simply produces results.

The following seven steps provide an exact blueprint for effective selling in any situation:

1. Approach:
A prospect's first impression of you is critical. Is she comfortable with you? Do you seem to have her best interests at heart? People buy from you because they like you. Reinforce this feeling with friendliness and sincerity to open the sale and begin the relationship in a positive way.

2. Qualification:
This is the information-gathering period. You will decide if the prospect is right for your product, service or idea by asking open-ended questions to uncover her needs or any potential problems or concerns she may have. By listening, you will show her that you respect her, are honest and are interested in the things that are important to her.

3. Agreement on need:
Next, you will summarize the information you gathered in the previous steps to clarify the facts and demonstrate your understanding of her unique needs. Showing that you understand is critical because people will buy from you not because they understand what you're selling but because you understand them.

4. Sell the company:
Whether you're representing a company or yourself, in order to build trust in your sales relationship, your prospect should be well aware of your history and your track record. Have you consistently operated with integrity? Have you demonstrated your capability to perform and meet deadlines as promised with other clients and projects? Remind her of your past successes so she can feel safe and confident about buying from you.

5. Fill the need:
Present evidence that shows the effectiveness of your product, service or idea by showing your prospect how it fills her needs. Understand that this person's most pressing question is: "What will it do for me?" To effectively sell to her, you must answer this question to her complete satisfaction.

6. Act of commitment:
Once you've eliminated all doubt, this is the time to ask for a commitment. Don't apply pressure! Just remind her of the things you discussed: She likes and trusts you, she has certain problems that your idea/product/service solves, and you have a solid performance history so you are a trustworthy individual. Finally, the wording for your close is simple: "If I can deliver the idea/product/service we discussed in the time frame (state the delivery date) and at the price (restate the price) we agreed on, can you think of any reason why we shouldn't move forward with this?" When you hear the word, "No," you've got an act of commitment.

7. Cement the sale:
In this final step you'll "cement" in your prospect's mind the logical reason for her purchase, such as how ideally it fits her needs. You never want a prospect or client to regret that she trusted you, so this is also the point at which you should commit to a time to follow up. Always keep her updated on your progress and delivery schedule. Ongoing communication is the key to keeping your new sale sold.

As you can see, the seven steps are well organized and make for an easy-to-follow checklist. The system is flexible and can be adapted to fit any personality or sales situation.

As long as you use the steps in order, you can be creative, using them in any situation, with any type of person.

Most importantly, each step allows you to focus on creating a win-win situation for both you and your prospect, using persuasion, not pressure.

You can feel good about selling because you'll only make a sale when it's of benefit to both you and your client.

Spend some time going through the steps and memorize them. Practice role-playing regularly with a friend or colleague to improve your technique. Honest feedback is one of the most important components of gauging your success, so practice with someone who can offer you insight.

Memorize the seven steps, fine-tune your approach, incorporate feedback and very soon, you'll be using the seven steps successfully in your life - and achieving your highest goals.


Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.

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Getting Your Prospect Ready for a Sales Call
by Michael Nick

How many times have you fought hard to get an appointment with a prospect and when you finally do and show up, THEY are the ones who are not prepared?  

You did your research, you checked LinkedIn, you prepared your questions for the discovery discussion and when you sit down across from them, they respond with "I don't know", "Let me check on that", or "Good question, I don't handle that part of our business directly." 

One suggestion I have that has been pretty successful with our customers is this simple document used to send in advance of your sales call. We named it the "Initial Discovery Questionnaire" and it simply a list of the primary questions you want to review with your prospect when you arrive.

By sending your questions in advance you make your prospect aware of the information you need to determine whether you have a sales opportunity or not. It also keeps you from wasting the prospects time. They know what you want to know when you show up for the appointment.

Here is the layout and how its recommended use. 

Begin with a cover page of the information and assumptions you are already aware of. Things like contact information for you, your team, the prospect and their team. Include any high level data you already know too like size of company, number of staff, annual revenues, mostly public information. 

Next, create 5 - 8 questions that help you determine their issue pain or goal. For example, when we use this technique our questions are:

  • "Do you think your team discounts too much?" or
  • "Is your close ratio where you would expect it to be?" or
  • “Does it take too long for your new hires to come up to speed?”

Each question drives the prospect to an issue, pain or goal we already know we resolve better than our competition. We know this because of our effort in creating a Value Inventory.

The next page we break out into three sections. The first section is a statement of value. For example at the top of the first section in bold print we type "Increase Revenue with a Reduction in Discounting". The next section we enter a short paragraph explaining how we help them reduce discounting. Finally, in the last section we enter the questions we want to get answered that support the value we can offer through our solution.

In the above example, we would ask, Annual Revenue, and Average Discount rate. By knowing these two numbers we are able to use simple math to calculate how much revenue they lose annually from discounting. And drive a conversation on our ability to reduce it.

Each of the 5-8 questions will have a section below with the questions that lead to your value. Title the document "Initial Discovery." Be sure to put instructions on the front explaining these are the questions you want to discuss when you meet, and that they please take the time to get the answers before you arrive. 

Use the answers in your thank you letter too, confirming the information you received and establishing the next steps.

Finally use the information as a guideline for your presentation or proof of value.

About The Author:

Michael Nick is considered to be one of the foremost authorities in the world on the subject of value estimation selling. Michael’s first book, ROI Selling (Dearborn Publishing ©2004) was a business best seller. In 2010, Simon & Schuster picked up the reprint rights giving ROI Selling another five years of availability in the market.

Over the past 13 years Michael has worked with Companies like, HP, Autodesk, Fiserv, Ingersol Rand, Trane, NEC, Checkfree, Bomgar, Rockwell Automation, Oracle, Great Plains,and more.

Visit him at:

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Phone Sales Tips: The Best Way to Use the Phone When Contacting Customers
by Mark Hunter, 'The Sales Hunter

For how much time we all spend on the phone, it’s amazing how poor our phone skills can become if we are not intentionally improving such skills. Being in sales necessitates you be on the phone.

Be intentional about your sales motivation and consider these phone sales tips when you are contacting customers:

1. Never ask if it’s a good time to talk.

This gives the other person a perfect excuse to end the call. If you are unsure if the person has time to talk, then state up front that the phone call will only take 3 minutes. When you give the person an exact time, be sure you time the call. After the allotted time, tell the customer you’re at the end and ask them if they would like to continue or reschedule. Using this practice allows you to demonstrate how much you respect their time.

2. Ask questions.

People will never hang up on themselves,so if you can get them genuinely responding to questions, the call will likely continue.

3. Use the person’s name at least 3 times in every phone call.

Who doesn’t like to hear their name said?

4. When greeting people on the telephone, avoid using their last name.

It makes the call seem too formal. Your objective should be to have a casual conversation, in the same way you would talk to a good friend.

5. Use visually descriptive words to help paint a picture of what you’re saying.

Obviously, a phone call is not as multi-dimensional as talking to someone in person.  This doesn’t mean, though, that a phone conversation has to be boring and stale.

6. When starting a new telephone conversation, always give your first and last name.

Never assume the person you’re talking to is going to recognize your voice or think you’re the only one with your first name.

7. Watch your facial expressions by placing a mirror in front of you when you talk.

It’s amazing how they come through over the phone.

8. Add energy to your phone calls by standing up.

Nobody likes talking to a “blah” person. People who have good posture tend to come across more enthusiastic than those who don’t.

9. When you end a conversation, always summarize it in the same way you would end a live meeting.

By doing so, you can prevent misinterpretation of your discussion.

10. Always allow the other person to have the final comment or question.

Just because you’ve asked all your questions doesn’t mean the other person has asked all of his.

11. Avoid negotiating over the phone.

Use it as a means to introduce information and to follow up or confirm information. It’s impossible to truly read body language over the phone and thus you lose a major negotiating tool. A phone call, however, can be an excellent way to introduce a new idea upon which you would like to receive some feedback. Many times it will allow feedback to be gained in a less threatening manner than if it were to occur in a traditional sales call.

12. Never use a speaker phone with a customer, even if they say it is fine with them.

Speaker phones add to the perception the conversation is not important enough to capture 100% of the person’s attention. (The only exception, of course, is if there is a group involved.)

Applying these phone sales tips to your daily routine will  help you boost your sales motivation, increase your success and better serve your customers and prospects.

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is author of “High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.” He is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects and close more profitable sales. To get a free weekly sales tip, visit Read the first chapter of his instant-classic “High-Profit Selling” here.


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Seven Insights To Use For Getting Your Next Job
by Roy Chitwood, CSP

Regardless of your educational background, degrees, work experience or accomplishments, your future employment depends on one thing: how well you can sell.

I'm not talking about selling a specific product or service. I mean selling yourself and your ideas. Your ability to do this will determine whether or not you get the job.

Selling is simply effective communication, and the first rule in communication is that people prefer talking to listening.

So, success in a job interview is determined by your ability to get the interviewer talking. It's her job to get information from you, but that isn't what will get you the job.

That's because, in a typical job interview, the interviewer asks all the questions and you do all the talking. Sure, she needs to know about your background, education and experience. But as you're rambling on and on saying the same things every other job applicant says, she's wondering how quickly she can terminate the interview so she can get on to more important things.

Using some principles, you can gain control of the conversation, get the interviewer talking and glean the information you need to succeed in the interview and get the job.

The following are seven insights for job interviews:

One: The first few seconds of the interview are critical - the way you look, dress, say "Hello" and shake hands. These give the interviewer clues about your personality, social skills, confidence and experience. To make a positive first impression, use these seven tips:

- Smile (the universal sign of friendship).

- Be sincerely interested in others.

- Talk in terms of others' interests. Remember your interviewer always has time to talk about what she wants to talk about.

- Say their name. The sweetest sound in any language is the sound of a person's name. Overusing someone's name, however, is worse than not using it at all. We've all been in situations where an overzealous salesperson uses the other person's name ad nauseam. Use the interviewer's name, but do it judiciously.

- Compliment. Don't comment on frivolous things like the art on the wall, fish in an aquarium or trophy on the desk. Come prepared to offer two sincere compliments to your interviewer - on his position, achievements, promotions, or about the company's recent success.

- Be a good listener. I've never heard an interviewer say, "This applicant listened too much."

- Make the other person feel important. Do it sincerely.

Two: This is when the interviewer determines if the applicant is qualified. Typically the interviewer asks a question about the applicant's past experience, background, etc., and the applicant rattles on and on, instead of just answering the question. To be successful, you're going to need to gain control of the communication process by asking questions and getting the interviewer talking.

One of the biggest mistakes applicants make is asking closed-ended questions that turn the interview into an interrogation. Avoid questions that can be answered with a "yes" or "no" response. Rudyard Kipling once wrote, "I keep six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When, and How and Where and Who." Almost any closed-ended question can be easily transformed into an open-ended question with the use of one of these words.

Three: In this step, you'll determine if the position fits you and your qualifications. Don't jump to conclusions about the information or questions you may get from the interviewer. Several years ago, a friend of mine applied for a senior management position. During the interview, the interviewer asked questions that didn't seem to relate to the position. Later my friend learned from the interviewer that he was more qualified for another senior level position and was subsequently hired to fill it. If the position doesn't fit, or you're not interested in it, however, gracefully terminate the interview.

Four: You are the company you're selling. Begin with something like, "Linda, let me tell you a little about myself."

The following are areas to cover during this step because they are questions the interviewer will likely have on her mind: "I don't know who you are," "I don't know your background," "I don't know your education," "I don't know what you stand for," "I don't know your past employers," "I don't know your track record," "I don't know your reputation" and "Now, why should I hire you?"

Five: In a selling situation, this is where you would talk about your product or service. However, on a job interview, you are the product/service. Therefore, relate how your education, experience, background, etc., will benefit the company with a series of feature-benefit-reaction sequences. "My experience working with multiple channel distribution in the Northwest (feature) will allow me to immediately impact sales in this important territory (benefit). How would that help you achieve your sales goals for the first quarter?" (reaction)

Now you'll utilize the information you obtained through listening and questioning in the first four steps. Come prepared with a standard list of three or four feature-benefit-reaction sequences (keeping your reaction questions open-ended), then customize them based on the information you gathered. Conclude this step by asking, "What questions do you have?" At this point, you can inquire about compensation and estimated start date, "When would you like the new person to start?"

Six: Now use this closing statement: "If I can arrange my schedule to start on the date you would like, can you think of any reason why you wouldn't hire me?" The wording of this statement should be exactly as I've stated - concise and to the point. You're not asking for a determination that you're qualified or that the interviewer is interested in hiring you - it's simply a mutual agreement to move forward. If you get an objection such as, "I have several more interviews scheduled," or "I want to give it more thought," acknowledge the objection with "I see," "I understand," or "I can appreciate that."

Seven: Regardless of whether you get the job, cement the relationship by expressing your appreciation and thanking the interviewer for her time and interest. Follow up the interview with a handwritten, mailed thank you card. It shows you are a professional, and it's something tangible the interviewer can keep for future reference.

About The Author:

ROY CHITWOOD is an author and consultant on sales and customer service. He is the former president and chairman of Sales & Marketing Executives International and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle, 800-488-4629, If you would like to subscribe to his free Tip of the Week, "You're on Track," please e-mail

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Why Do Your Customers Do Business with You?
By Bill Lee

In preparation for a sales seminar I was scheduled to present, I asked the owner of the business if he would give me permission to interview two or three of his outside salespeople. I was interested to hear from the salespeople's perspective the challenges they were facing and learn what was preventing them from substantially increasing their sales.

The owner recommended three outside salespeople for me to interview. I asked each of them different questions, but the following question I asked all three. Here is the common question and the salespeople's responses:

Question: What do you consider to be the primary reason your customers do business with you?

Salesperson #1 had sales in 2012 of $1.8 million at a 19.6% gross margin. "My customers have one thing in common, they all buy on price and I fight my company everyday to make sure that my customers are always positioned with the lowest price. I believe my customers know that I do everything in my power to keep their material costs low."

Salesperson #2 had sales in 2012 of $3.3 million at a 24.1% gross margin. "I have convinced my customers that there's a lot more involved in cost than merely price, so I would say that the overwhelming reason my customers do business with me is because of the personal services I render and day in day out dependable service from our inside salespeople and delivery personnel.

Salesperson #3 had sales in 2012 of $4.1 million at a 25.1% gross margin: "I would have answered this question a lot differently ten years ago, but today my customers buy from me because I work for them free of charge. I seek out problems my customers are struggling with and I make it my business to find a solution. Since I took this approach to selling, my sales have doubled and my gross margin is up 4-1/2% from 20.6% to just over 25%. My income is not too shabby, either."

Consider Salesperson #1 for just a moment. His type is really unnecessary in today's world. Customers who care only about buying at the lowest price will soon figure out they don't need him…they can find the lowest price by shopping either the Internet or by calling a handful of suppliers. The next thing that will happen is for one or more of his customers to go to his boss behind his back and ask, "How much cheaper can you sell me if you don't have to pay a sales commission to the salesperson I am assigned to?"

Salespeople who have to have the lowest price to make a sale are obsolete and unnecessary in today's world.

Have you ever heard of a brain surgeon or a heart surgeon bragging that he or she had the lowest prices in town? When most of us are going into surgery, we aren't looking to save money, we're looking to save our lives.

The most talented professionals almost never complain that they lose business because their prices are too high. The clients of these highly talented professionals are happy to pay whatever price they are asking because they regard the price they are paying as an investment, not as an expense.

Customers will pay for the added value salespeople like Salesperson #2 offers his customers.

The salespeople who will never be obsolete, the salespeople who will always be in great demand by businesses and by customers…are salespeople like Salesperson #3. If Salesperson #3 were to ever find himself to be out of a job, it wouldn't be for long.

I encourage you to ask yourself this question: Why do my customers do business with me? If anything related to price is included in your answer this is a clue for you to get busy and learn how to become more valuable, how to make your customers more money on the bottom line and how to solve their most pressing business problems.

Don't allow yourself to become an out of work obsolete salesperson.

Business-Building Products from Bill Lee

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About The Author:

BILL LEE is a business expert. Starting out in 1965 as a field sales representative and then a sales manager with New York City-based GAF Corporation, he soon became a part owner of one of the fastest growing start-up companies in the US — Builder Marts of America, Inc. (BMA)

Bill and his partners grew BMA from a startup to sales of $640 million in just under 20 years. Bill served as a corporate officer at BMA with general management responsibility for the company’s largest division.

Today, Bill is a sought-after seminar leader and business consultant who works extensively throughout the US and Canada.

He is author of Gross Margin: 26 Factors Affecting Your Bottom Line, now in its third printing.

His most recent book, 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot was released in October 2005.

Thousands of owners, managers and salespeople read Bill’s award winning ezines and magazine articles on sales and gross margin improvement and best management practices.

Bill is president of Lee Resources, Inc., a Greenville, SC-based consulting, training and publishing organization.

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